Rahul seeks Yechury support for amendment to GST bills

Posted April 07, 2017

The Rajya Sabha today passed the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill without any amendments.

Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party expressed apprehension over the proposed "harsh punishments" in the GST Bills, and said they should be done away with to create a good atmosphere for business.

New Delhi, Apr 6 The Lok Sabha today passed a bill which will ensure continuance of levy of excise on petroleum products and abolition of cess on some other items following GST rollout from July 1.

Paving way for roll of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Rajya Sabha Thursday passed four legislations and now states have to pass the States GST Bill for the roll out of single taxation regime from July 2017.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said, during the debate, that there was no hesitation in the government in conceding that the Bill could not be credited to just one person. State Assemblies will now have to pass the States GST Bill after which the new indirect tax regime can be rolled out from the targeted date of July 1. Mr Sibal said the bill excludes tobacco, petrol, turbine and real estate from its list.

In the backdrop of a reconciliatory mood, Rajya Sabha members showed consensus that the new indirect tax is the biggest reform since Independence and is the need of the hour. The Congress wanted parliament to have a final say on the recommendations of the GST council and not notify taxes by an executive order leaving parliament out of its purview.

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Participating in the debate, Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United said that "GST should be made easy, so people do not have any tax related problems". He added that GST would herald an era of cooperative federalism and said that it would bring efficiency and transparency in tax administration. "GST is the only tax which is simultaneously levied by Centre and states", he said.

Other commodities would be fitted into the nearest tax bracket, he said.

"We have had 14 meetings at the GST Council...and arrived at a consensus on all issues", he said, adding there has been no voting on any issue. Mr Jaitley said, cess imposed on luxury and demerit goods will be utilised to compensate the states for revenue loss in the first five years of GST implementation and later they will be subsumed in GST rates.

The balance 51 per cent equity is with non-government financial institutions - HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.

"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that GST should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).